Tag Archives: triumph of the will

Ip Man 2: The Grandmaster Returns

I was happy to sit down and watch the second Ip Man after having watched the first, enjoying the story with interspersed martial arts fight scenes throughout. With more of a focus on story over choreography, this one didn’t catch my attention as much as I would have liked. It wraps up like Cinderella Man and makes you feel all good inside, but I didn’t have any of those jaw dropping moments. Let’s just get to the plot, shall we?

In this one, Ip Man (Donnie Yen reprises his role) has moved to Hong Kong after beating back the Japanese years before. He has plans to start his own martial arts school, but no disciples seem to be interested. With money problems and a

Two masters goin’ at it.

suppressive British government, Ip Man must maneuver his way through life, following his principles and maintaining a happy family. But it’s not all easy going for the Ip Man.

I really was surprised how this film focused more on story rather than substance. It had all the elements of a triumph of the will story without all the fight scenes and technique. My impression of Wing Chun from this film is one of precise and calculated moves, more than the clever and wily style of other martial arts styles. There aren’t flashy kicks or the use of elbows or knees, it is all more in the quickest

Donnie Yen, as refined as ever.

way to take someone out. I do appreciate that though. Donnie Yen shows off how quick he can be in a flurry of punches I’ve never seen demonstrated in a Kung Fu movie before. I give him his due for that.

The acting is just as good in this film as in the last. But I’m talking more about the Chinese actors than the English speaking ones. Although I’m pretty sure that Brian Burrell is living my dream of being a white man from America living in an Asian country. My country of choice, though? Thailand. Gotta give it up for the Muay Thai and Thai food. (Volcano chicken all the way.) But anyways, the English speaking actors (with as few of them as there probably are in China) just took things over the top and need to work on delivery. This is a common problem though in foreign films, so I don’t blame them too much. They were better than some.

I do appreciate the message the Ip Man films send to a wider audience than just China. The oppression felt in China has

I gotta get me one of those…

been quite prevalent in the last 100 years by foreign countries and bigger world powers. It has been a triumph over the bully in the last century, and China knew how to depict that. I give props to Wilson Yip for doing a good job in that department. I feel for the Chinese in this film and the way that most people look down on Chinese martial arts. Hell, martial arts in general. But I’m pretty sure, other than stamina, that any martial arts expert could take out a boxer with the right moves. Like me and all the other martial arts enthusiasts out there, I appreciate martial arts in all its capacity. Asia will always dominate in my heart.

Dope.

In a different twist I wasn’t expecting in this film, I was touched more than inspired to do martial arts. The music was good and uplifting, the cinematography wasn’t bad, and the Wing Chun kept it brief and brutal. Not much to complain about, but I still do love the fight scenes from the first movie more. 7.4 out of 10.

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Clannad: After Story

This is the one where the water works are gonna start. Taking place a few months after the first series, Clannad: After Story is about two high school sweethearts, Tomoya and Nagisa. This series goes farther than the other series by setting events as far as 7 years after the first. This allows Tomoya and Nagisa to develop into a wonderfully loving couple, scraping through their lives right after high school. All of the characters have parted ways and Tomoya has gotten himself a little apartment with a meager paying job. In a slice of life anime/drama, this focuses on the lives of those people trying to develop a life for themselves, if they can.

And, boy oh boy, you’re gonna feel your heart out for Tomoya and Nagisa. You’ll root for them and cry far more than you

Ushio, the cutest of babies.

thought you ever could. I don’t want to reveal too much, but this one is better than the first, if you haven’t seen either, it’s time to start now. Clannad is used as a springboard for After Story and creates a sound basis for you to connect with them in later life. For the younger viewers of this anime, it may become hard at this point to relate to characters who are growing up faster than their own legs can carry them in 20+ episodes. Starting a life and making a career is realistically portrayed in this anime more than I’ve seen in most T.V. show dramas here in the states. This is refreshing to see on a lot of levels and makes it all the more real with all you’ll see over time.

The wonderful, loving family.

I would urge those of you who read my blog and who will take my advice and watch this anime to take it slow through the anime. Yeah sure, watch the first one faster than After Story. But realize, when you get into Clannad, you may not want it to end so quickly. And you may need some time to dry your tears. That’s some real truth coming from this guy over here. I would probably give this anime a spot in my top 20 and that’s no joke there.

The wonderful cast, and an X-mas to remember.

There’s a baby, and some wonderful father and daughter love. Tomoya has a wonderful support network and flourishes under the pressures that are placed on him. This show is really about the triumph of the will and the importance of family and love. Because, in this anime, the dividing line between distance and connection is the finest of lines. With a wonderful Japanese voice acting cast and tears hidden around every corner, you won’t know just when to be happy or sad. Oh, and that robot and the girl? That’s all explained in After Story. So grab your tissues for this 8.7 out of 10 anime.